We had no idea that Dollywood was home to the largest exhibit of non-releasable bald eagles in the country.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
April 16, 2019
The Washington Post/Getty Images

For many, a trip to Dollywood means roller-coaster fun and live entertainment galore. But here's another reason to visit Dolly Parton's Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: A chance to see bald eagles at the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which is a part of the American Eagle Foundation (AEF).

There, guests have the opportunity to watch the largest exhibit of non-releasable bald eagles in the country in the Wings of America Birds of Prey show (the bald eagles cared for in the program are permanently disabled and would not be able to fend for themselves in the wild). Guests can visit the exhibit from early April through the first week in January when Dollywood is open to the general public.

If you can't make it to Pigeon Forge, Dollywood's Eagle Mountain Sanctuary offers a live web cam so you can see inside the 30,000-square-foot aviary, which is part of the 400,000-cubic-foot sanctuary. More web cams are available on DWEagleCams.Org.

So far, AEF has released 166 young bald eagles and 11 golden eagles (the sanctuary also provides breeding areas to its animals) into the Great Smoky Mountains' foothills between 1992 and 2018.

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Who knew such a cool experience awaits at one of our favorite Southern theme parks? Time to book that cabin rental and see these majestic birds up close.